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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 November 2005, 19:58 GMT
Big Brother firm to float shares
Celebrity Big Brother 3 winner Bez
The Big Brother format has been a hit in many countries
Endemol, the production firm behind the TV series Big Brother, has unveiled plans for a stock market listing.

The Dutch firm is seeking a flotation in Amsterdam which could value it at up to 1.6bn euros ($1.9bn; 1.1bn).

In addition to Big Brother, Endemol is also behind the Ready Steady Cook and Fear Factor TV series.

Endemol employs 3,300 full-time staff. It is owned by Spanish firm Telefonica which bought it for 5.5bn euros at the height of the tech boom in 2000.

Telefonica has recently being selling non-core businesses in order to focus on its main telecoms interests.

The flotation is scheduled to take place on or around 22 November.

'Important step'

While Endemol has its head office in the Netherlands, it also operates subsidiaries and joint-ventures in 22 countries around the world.

"We are very pleased with the anticipated listing, which constitutes an important step for Endemol as a global entertainment company," said Endemol chief executive Joaquim Agut Bonfills.

"The anticipated listing will increase the visibility of our business and enhance the ability to align management objectives with company strategy."

However, Endemol's French business will not be part of the listed group. The French business will be separated following a disagreement with local managers over payouts.

Endemol posted earnings of 132.4m euros last year, excluding the French business.

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